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Update: Moon's 911th Airlift Wing to Remain Open

Defense Secretary Panetta halts aircraft retirements at base until Congress takes action.

Update: Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, announced today that the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township will remain open for at least one more year following a directive from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. 

Panetta directed Air Force officials to delay any or retirements until Congress takes action on the measure. The Secretary  in June. 

The reprieve will maintain more than 1,100 military and 300 civilian jobs at the air base.

From the Congressman: 

“This is welcome news for our region’s military families and an important recognition of the role Congress must play in authorizing base closures and major changes to our military’s structure. Even with this decision, our efforts are not finished, and I’m going to keep working to save the 911th—one of the most accomplished and cost-effective bases in the country."

The Air Force targeted the 911th for closure for its  and geographic location. The base is assigned eight C-130s that are among the oldest tactical aircraft still flying in the military. 

Murphy in a statement called Panetta's directive an "acknowledgement of our efforts to expose the flaws in the initial Air Force structure recommendations." Local officials for moving to close the 911th without performing a public cost-benefit analysis.  

Air Force officials said shuttering the wing would save the military $300 million annually. The closure was a part of an effort to trim $8.7 billion from the Air Force's 2013 budget. Multiple bases around the country were set to undergo realignments under the plan, but the 911th was the only one slated to close. 

Both the House and Senate defense budget bills for the upcoming fiscal year prohibit the Air Force from transferring or retiring aircraft.

Tech Sgt. Jamie L. Perry said the 911th's public affairs office had no comment on the announcement. 

"It's all business as usual here," Perry said. 

RealMoonResident July 02, 2012 at 05:06 PM
The DOD has been trying to do away with the 911th for years. The Moon community has to be PREPARED for this eventuality. That means understanding what the future, reduced, tax base may be as well as how it will affect the schools and other parts of the community. Other towns have had this happen and survived, even thrived. Moon could do the same, but it takes preparation and creativity. I have not seen much of either in Moon Township government. But, maybe we will be surprised... Let's hope it never happens, but be prepared if it does.
Louisa July 02, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Thank goodness finally a little sense out of Washington! This is good news.
jack wise July 02, 2012 at 07:09 PM
the person most responsible for this great news is colonel jerry kintigh. he organized and shepherded the effort more than 6 years ago.. he deserves most of the credit for this.
dawgodawg July 02, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Speaking from a retired USAF Veteran. This is good news for now, and maybe they will reevaluate the future of manned aircraft with the problems droned aircraft pose. I will allways side with a pilot in an aircraft. And we need to thank our representatives they are really fighting to keep this base open.
seen2mch July 04, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Despite the relentless efforts of many good people,the future of he 911th was still in doubt. Who would have thought that the "do nothing US Congress" doing what it does best for us citzens...NOTHING...would be the group to get the 911th over the hump. By their lack of doing their jobs,they prevented the military from retiring any aircraft thus saving the 911th for the time being. Is this a great country or what? Happy 4th of July and good for you 911th!!!

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